12.31.2010

Best of 2010- The Cinema

1. The Social Network-
Directed by David Fincher

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake.

When I heard that “they were going to make a movie about Facebook”, I rolled my eyes. Even when I knew what the story was going to be about- I had little anticipation of being interested in seeing it. Boy did it surprise. To many people- a screenplay written by Aaron Sorkin would be enough to get their butts in the theater seats… but for me it was the discovery of a gifted writer. Each dialogue, each sentence, each word was written with great purpose and distinction that kept me absolutely engulfed the entire film. The fast paced script kept me on the edge of my seat; and was acted brilliantly by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake. The pulsing soundtrack, done by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provided a steady undercurrent of depth, that you rarely see- or hear in movies. Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac, Benjamin Button) played to the many strengths of this film- there was even a stellar Tilt Shift scene, which in short, was awesome to see. The Social Network had everything going for it- it took full advantage of the talents involved- and it clearly shows in the finished product.

2. The Kings Speech-
Directed by Tom Hooper

Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffery Rush, Helena Bonham Carter

Even though 2010 is over two weeks past, I feel it would be wrong to leave “The Kings Speech” off my list. It is simply an outstanding film- that will definitely earn high marks during the upcoming reward season. With a tremendous acting performance from Colin Firth, Geoffery Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and remarkable directing from Tom Hooper – I feel it is more than right that “The Kings Speech” deserves a spot, not only on the list, but near the top. From the beginning I was immediately pulled into the film, and the character development of King George VI (Firth) and Lionel Logue (Rush) kept me intrigued throughout the entire movie. I've seen it twice already, and I'll go see it again.


3. Inception-
Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe.

Few directors can make me say “that blew my mind!” after every film they work on- Christopher Nolan is one of them. The summer release of Inception was no different. Fascinating story, dazzling special effects, and mind-bending ideas come together to create a phenomenal adventure through mind and reason.

4. Exit Through the Gift Shop-
Directed by Banksy

Starring: Thierry Guetta, Sheppard Fairey, Banksy, Invader.

Brilliantly hilarious, starkly interesting, thought provoking- and possibly fake. Exit Through the Gift Shop, a documentary; is the brainchild of UK’s notorious street artist Banksy. Telling the story of an obsessed photographer (Thierry Guetta) turned street artist (Mister Brain Wash); Banky shows his true colors of creativity, irony, and social commentary. Immediately thrust into a world of dodging streetlights, running from police, and beautiful poetic vandalism- Exit Through the Gift Shop is a delight to watch each and every time.

5. Toy Story 3-
Directed by Lee Unkrich

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen.

I think I got highly emotional about 3 or 4 times during Toy Story. The movie, at least on paper, is a Disney film marketed towards elementary aged children. In reality, the folks at Pixar once again bring real joy, pain, happiness, anger, gain, and loss to an animated movie. I laughed, I cried, and I was taught the most important things of life.

6. 127 Hours-
Directed by Danny Boyle

Starring: James Franco

One Man, one camera, and 127 hours of human anguish, pain and self-discovery. Portrayed by the marvelous acting of James Franco; 127 Hours tells the true story of Aaron Ralston- an independent adventurer who, after a Canyoneering accident, finds himself physically bound to the desolate environment that he loves. Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later)- 127 Hours is a showcase of raw acting and storytelling at it’s finest.

7. Black Swan-
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, and Vincent Cassel

An intense physiological thriller, with a tension driven plot that builds to an intense ending climax that alters reality and leaves you breathless.

8. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World-
Directed by Edgar Wright

Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jason Schwartzman

Just about as fun and enjoyable as movies come, Michael Cera portrays the role of Scott Pilgrim and director Edgar Wright brings us an amazing hybrid real life/video game world.

9. True Grit-
Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and Hailee Steinfeld.

The latest Coen Brothers masterpiece, True Grit is a hard nosed western with stellar acting performances from Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and new comer Hailee Steinfeld.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1)-
Directed by David Yates

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Ralph Fiennes

I've loved the Harry Potter books for many years- but have never been too satisfied with the movies. Harry Potter 7 changed that.

11. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo-
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace

A dark gripping Swedish film based off the Stieg Larson book by the same name.

12.26.2010

Best of 2010- Music- Albums


1. The Age of Adz, Sufjan StevensIndie folk god Sufjan Stevens had a lot of people in a wild tizzy in late August when he released the EP "All Delighted People". Even more so when it was announced that his first full album since "Illinoise" would be released in October. The Age of Adz features a completely new sound; one that is a far departure from the banjo & acoustic guitar that drew in some of his most devoted fans. The new Sufjan has drum beats, synthesizers, buzz's, bleeps, bloops, and other unidentifiable noises... all brilliantly layered into a pièce de résistance of musical genius. Sufjan played Seattle's Paramount Theater in November- the entire experience was mind-blowing, to say the least.

Highlighted Tracks: Too Much, Vesuvius, Impossible Soul, All for Myself, I Walked



2. The Head and the Heart, The Head and the Heart
The hottest newcomer in 2010- The Head and the Heart went from relatively unknown, to opening shows for groups like Vampire Weekend and Dave Matthews Band; all while establishing themselves with their own unique sound. Contagious melodies, beautiful harmonies, and a steadfast work ethic were just a few of the ingredients of THatH's success in 2010. Watch for this local Seattle band to explode in popularity in 2011. I saw them live for a total of four times this year- such a fun show, it got better and better each time.

Highlighted Tracks: Down in the Valley, Lost in My Mind, Sounds Like Hallelujah, Winter Song



3. The Suburbs, Arcade FireIt's difficult to create a feel of nostalgia out of thin air... but Arcade Fire did just that. Evoking memories that I may have not even had- The Suburbs is a tribute to the cul-de-sacs, sprawling developments, and innocent bliss of growing up. I also had the great opportunity to see them play at the Key Arena this year, they were incredible- don't pass up the chance if you get it!

Highlighted Tracks: Ready to Start, Sprawls II, We Used To Wait, Rococo



4. How I Got Over, The Roots
Entering their third decade of making music, ninth studio album, busy every night with their house-band duties for Jimmy Fallon… no way they could put out a decent album. Wrong. This is the Roots. Masters of their craft, The Roots put together the strongest hip-hop album of the year.

Highlighted Tracks: Walk Alone, Dear God 2.0, How I Got Over



5. Contra, Vampire Weekend
After releasing their self titled debut album in 2008, the bar for Vampire Weekend was raised to near impossible heights. They met it, and just may have cleared it. Contra was released in January of 2010- and was a go-to album all year long. It fits every season- and nearly every mood. Clean cut sounds with lots of heart. Incredible live show- might I add.

Highlighted Tracks: Giving up the Gun, White Sky Holiday, Cousins



6. The Wild Hunt, The Tallest Man on Earth
This was possibly my favorite brand new find of 2010. Kristian Matsson may remind many of Bob Dylan (perhaps too strongly), but his lyrics are deep and music is strong for something all his own.

Highlighted Tracks: The Wild Hunt, You're Going Back, A Lion's Heart



7. Spotlight, Andrew Platter
Andrew Platter is a great musician.. and even a greater friend. Let’s go back to the great musical part though… A-Platz released his newest album “Spotlight” this year, and I’ve been jammin’ it ever since I got it. It’s great tunes for a late Saturday morning accompanied by a big cup of coffee.

Highlighted Tracks: Find it with You, Spotlight, Snowed In, Weight of Glory



8. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
Kanye’s newest album has been hyped up like crazy among the hipster/pitchfork crowd… Although I haven’t hooked onto it with the same infatuation- I can’t deny that “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” has really grown on me over the past month or so. Watch this visually creative music video for a taste...

Highlighted Tracks: Dark Fantasy, Power, All of the Lights, Lost in the World



9. All Day, Girl Talk
Pittsburgh's USA’s finest Mash-Up artist is back again. His first album since the incredible “Feed the Animals” – All Day is back with a new sound with all the old glory that Gregg Gillis has brought in the past. A solid hour of hustle- you’ll start dancing and not even realize it.

Highlighted Tracks: All of them



10. The Story, Soma Communities
Just released in time for Christmas- this collaboration album from members of Soma features a tremendous mix of music from some gifted musicians- including Aaron Spiro. I've been listening to this almost non-stop since it came out.

Highlighted Tracks: Angels, The Plow, Abel






11. Brothers, The Black Keys

Highlighted Tracks: Everlasting Light, Tighten Up, Howlin' For You

The raw sexy sound of a distorted guitar is always hard to ignore- and The Black Keys sure does draw your attention. While their most popular hit was "Tighten Up" - Brothers is full of gritty tracks that are begging to be rocked out the air guitar.



12. Tribute to Famous People, Pomplamoose

Highlighted Tracks: Single Ladies, La Vie en Rose, Telephone, September

Adorable little Pomplamoose charmed the socks off me this year, with their stripped down cover songs of some of the most popular hits of today and yesteryear... their videos are also mucho fun to view... bonus points for cutie Nataly Dawn.

13. Business Casual, Chromeo

Highlighted Tracks: Night by Night, Don't Turn the Lights On, I Could be Wrong

"I like when current 80's music sounds better than real 80's music."
- Jamie Spiro

True story Spiro, true story.

14. Sir Lucious Left Foot, The Son of Chico Dusty- Big Boi

Highlighted Tracks: Shutterbugg, Back Up Plan, Turns Me On

The first album from Big Boi since 2006 (with Outkast)- Andre Patton unleashed a hip-hop masterpiece this year. Lots of great collaborations, snarky lyrics, and solid beats. This album definitely contributed to my speakers in my car blowing out this year.



15. Sea of Cowards, The Dead Weather

Highlighted Tracks: Die By the Drop, Blue Blood Blues, Old Mary

Jack White is a musical genius- surround him with Alison Mosshart, Dean Fertita, and Jack Lawrence... that's face-melting status. The Dead Weather turn it up to 11 with their second studio album.


16. Of the Blue the Colour of the Sky, OK Go

Highlighted Tracks: White Knuckles, This Too Shall Pass, Skyscrapers

OK Go, Music videos galore, creativity and fun tunes join in a fantastic marriage. Link Time: Ok Go YouTube


17. Beach House, Teen Dream

Highlighted Tracks: Silver Soul, Zebra, 10 Mile Stereo

Released in January, Teen Dream has been gaining solid recognition throughout the year. Not only is the album good- they put on a pretty enjoyable live show as well.


18. Congratulations, MGMT

Highlighted Tracks: Flash Delirium, It's Working, Brian Eno, Song for Dan Treacy, Someone's Missing

Departing from their electro-dance sound of Oracular Spectacular- MGMT brought back the old sound of mid 60's Psych Rock that has you dancing to a different beat. (Hey-O! Zing!)




19. Volume Two, She & Him

Highlighted Tracks: In The Sun, Home, Brand New Shoes

Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward are back with their indie as f*ck allure. Sweet melodies and fun loving lyrics make Volume Two an excellent album for the perfect spring day.


20. The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III), Janelle Monáe

Highlighted Tracks: Tightrope, Suite II Overture, Oh Maker

ArchAndroid is filled with creative music talent from relative new comer, Janelle Monáe. Lots of soul, lots of power, lots of imagination.


12.22.2010

Best of 2010- Television- Shows.

1. Fringe (Fox):
I’m a Fringevangelist. The entire show is crafted in a way that keeps me totally interested- not only in the development of each episode; but also in the entire season. Season 2 was a masterpiece of television, and its finale was nothing short of perfect. Season 3 is continuing that success each and every week. Humor, suspense, action, and adventure… this show covers it all. If you haven’t started watching Fringe, you should start right now.
2. Dexter (Showtime):
The serial killer vigilante named Dexter Morgan just may be my favorite character on TV. Starting in January I started Season One, and conitued to watch the entire series throughout the year. Great storylines, engaging characters and thrilling cliffhangers make this show a must watch each and every week.
3. Conan (TBS):
Oh dear Coco. You had your downs and ups this year- but you stayed true to yourself, and that’s what counts. I wrote extensively about the Conan/Jay Situation when it was all going down- which you can read here. After being forced off the NBC- Conan returned on TBS as comfortable and funny as ever.
4. Lost (ABC):
The Final Season. Mysteries solved, questions left unanswered, doors closed- and others opened. The 6th and final season of Lost brought an end to one of the most successful TV franchises of all time.
5. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC):

I don’t really know how anyone cannot love Jimmy Fallon. He has totally settled into his late night hosting duties better than anyone could have expected. Although he still has a few things to work out- in under 2 years Fallon has provided unique late night laughs on a daily basis.
6.Mad Men (AMC):
I believe that you could watch each episode of Mad Men three times, and appreciate three different parts of the show. First off- The story. Season 4 of Mad Men brought an interesting twist on the oh so perfect world of Don Draper- I won't go into details- but- the always cool, always collected, always well put together facade of Mr. Draper is put to the test. It was great to see how each character in the show reacted to the same problem- or how their different dilemmas (and successes) affect each other. Secondly: The acting. It's great, all of it. My personal favorite on the show in season 4? Sally Draper (seen right). 11 year old actress, Kiernan Shipka, brought an added depth of emotion and maturity to the show, where most people didn't expect. Finally: How can you not watch Mad Men and appreciate the attention to detail? The set, the dress, everything. It's impossible not to love.

7. Modern Family (ABC):
I think it's fair to compare Modern Family with Arrested Development. I feel like that should be good enough- Watch this show, creative comedy at it's finest.
8. Community (NBC):
A show that has really come to it's own this season- rife with pop-culture jokes, Community always provides laughs- sometimes in the most subtle of ways.
9. 30 Rock (NBC):
LIZZZZZ LEMON! A perennial favorite- for good reason. 30 Rock continued to bring the funny every week.
10. The Buried Life (MTV):

A new comer to the TV World, The Buried Life made a splash by changing lives, taking risks, and having a damn good time. The show follows 4 guys as they slowly check off a list of things “they want to do before they die.” Sneaking into a party at the playboy mansion, giving a toast at a strangers wedding, getting married in Vegas, or even play a pick up game of basketball with President Obama- these guys put their heart and soul into complete their goals. They also take time to assist other folks accomplish something of their list- which usual results in the ol’ heart strings being pulled.

12.09.2010

Best of 2010- Music- Songs.

1. Impossible Soul- Sufjan Stevens


2. Sounds Like Hallelujah- The Head and the Heart


3. All Delighted People- Sufjan Stevens


4. I Could Be Wrong- Chromeo (Featuring Ezra Koenig)


5. Sprawls II- Arcade Fire


6. White Sky- Vampire Weekend


7. Zebra- Beach House


8. Tighten Up- The Black Keys


9. How I Got Over- The Roots


10. It's Working- MGMT

11.16.2010

moving out.

It's crazy.



Fun.

10.24.2010

Youth Group ________

Hello Everybody-

After many months of thought, conversation, and prayer- I have made the very tough decision to step away from the Youth Group. This was not taken lightly- and many factors went into making the choice. I will let you know that it has nothing to do with me being tired of the wonderful kids and experiences I have been blessed with each and every week- but rather I’m feeling called to prepare myself for other ministries to further the Kingdom of our Savior.

It has truly been an honor to be able to have such an incredible job over these past 3 years. I cannot give enough thanks for your continual support of the Youth Group; by bringing your kids each and every week, your prayer, and willingness to help whenever the situation arises.

In November, I’m moving to the Phinney neighborhood of Seattle- where I will most likely attend Bethany Community Church. I may still show up at “The Core” every so often- especially as a consultant for our special “events.” I am greatly encouraged on the current state of the youth group- Ladene, Lauren, Scotty, and Matt are incredible gifted leaders, and I have full trust in God that those gifts will be used according to His plan.

I will truly cherish all the time and work spent working with the young people that came throughout the years. I could go on for days recalling great memories I’ve shared with everyone, lessons I’ve gained, and most importantly seeing God work in these Teen’s lives- as well as my own.

My last day will be Friday, October 29th for the “HarvestWeen” event. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there.

Many thanks and best regards,


________

(80's Bowling Night- June 2008)

an open letter to the parents of the youth group.